I did not vote for Donald Trump. Neither did I vote for Hillary Clinton. I stood aloof this cycle, unwilling to lend my endorsement to any candidate. I could not lend my support to such a despicable pair. God help us.
That being said, because I am a Republican of a libertarian-ish bent, there was something not unpleasant in watching House Clinton come up short in November. I confess the Schadenfreude was strong. Few cliques of smug, self-righteous, preening snobs have deserved their come-uppence more justly. And that they received it from the very hands of voters they have taken for granted for a generation made it even more delicious. Despite my dismay at Donald Trump's vulgarity, ignorance and braggadocio, I have to admit I began to really root for his success. Partially because our country desperately needs effective leadership, but also because having a successful Trump presidency will really but the boot in those who have presented themselves for so long as our moral and intellectual superiors. Watching the condescending faces of the MSNBC and CNN reporters fall into confusion and sadness on election night is something that needs to happen again, and again, and again. I'm not sure those emotions are entirely creditable on my part. But there it is.
So far, I am guardedly hopeful. His cabinet appointments have been not terrible. They are evidence of an Administration that is seeking real substantial change, if not radical change. Since that is the very platform on which Trump ran, I think this is refreshing. It looks like he wants to keep his promises. Will it work? Well, about that I am not very optimistic, since bureaucracies and the beneficiaries of bureaucracy are deeply entrenched and will howl mightily with every attempted change and doggedly obstruct even the most modest alteration of the status quo. Will Trump be able to be a steady, forceful hand? Or will he descend into Trumpian caricature? Before the transition I would have thought, "you can't treat the government like a game show, he is going to tweet himself into irrelevancy." Now? Its anybody's guess. I have been so comprehensively and uniformly wrong about Trump from the moment he rode down the golden escalator into our lives till 11:30 PM on November 8th, I now feel that he is as likely to be another Washington as he is to be chosen form of Gozer the Gozarian.
I do know this: We have fetishized the Office of the President for too long in this country. For my whole life, and long before, we have been heaping more and more power and authority on the person of the President and giving a wink and a nod to behavior that would have sent men like Washington, Jefferson and Madison to the barricades with pitchforks and torches in hand. A lot of folks on my Facebook and elsewhere are acting as if we have truly elected Gozer. That what is at stake is the fundamental survival of our republic. I think this is overblown hooey. However, if you do believe this, does it change, even a little, your former support for the way we weaponized the Executive Branch of our government to do the heavy lifting that was to be handled by our Legislature? President Obama famously quipped that if the Congress was going to be "obstructionist" he had "a phone and a pen" and could legislate by regulation from his desk in the Oval Office. And he did. Many of my liberal friends cheered this when it should have raised the hackles of any person who loves this country. Why? Because now Trump will do the same. Only the opposite. I love this country. And I adore our Constitution, warts and all. Let me say that the separation of powers and the equal nature of each branch of government is not one of the warts. With the 1st Amendment it is the bedrock that has allowed our country to stay free. If the President can't get the votes to pass his agenda, that is a feature, not a bug. That is our system of government working exactly as it is designed to work. He must work with the Congress as an equal, not rule by diktat. The President is not a king. Maybe, just maybe, we can start remembering this as a society. Maybe the calls for deference to a president's agenda and the will of the people who elected him will be muted. Maybe the press will start doing its job again. Maybe we will start to remember that federalism isn't always a bad thing and that if people in California want to do thing differently than folks in Texas, maybe that is OK. Maybe we will decide that vesting so much power and authority in the Federal government isn't always in our best interests.
If Donald Trump can do this, then I think he will have done our country a great service, even if he didn't mean to do it.
God help us. God bless us.